James Rodriguez

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Transfer Rumor Roundup: James to Atletico, Rondon to China

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It has seemed for weeks that James Rodriguez is just a formality away from becoming a Napoli player, with Real Madrid motivated to offload the Colombian and Napoli appearing equally as excited to bring him on. However, as the weeks drag on without any official announcement, things may have begun to sour.

According to a number of reports in Spain, Real Madrid were upset with Napoli president Aurelio de Laurentiis due to comments made by the Italian. With Real Madrid insisting any would-be suitor pony up immediately with a permanent deal, de Laurentiis went public with his insistence on a loan with an obligation to buy. “We are all prepared to make sacrifices for James Rodriguez, but we ask Real Madrid to make them too,” de Laurentiis said to Sky Sport Italia. “We’ve not given up, but in order to break the ice we need Madrid to consider that rather than have an unhappy player sitting around, they should send him out to play. Perhaps on loan.”

That reportedly upset Real Madrid enough to the point where they have shifted focus to Atletico Madrid, willing to deal with a direct rival rather than capitulate to Napoli’s wishes. The reports also state that Rodriguez is on board, growing frustrated with Napoli’s wavering desire for his services. Atletico is also an attractive destination for the Colombian given the gap up front created by the departure of Antoine Griezmann. They have spent all the Griezmann money on Portuguese youngster Joao Felix, but with such a departure, there is always a power vacuum Rodriguez could exploit.


According to Lyall Thomas of Sky Sports, Championship side West Brom has agreed to sell Salomon Rondon to Chinese club Dalian Yifang where he will reunite with manager Rafa Benitez.

The report states the deal between the clubs is done and the player now must agree to personal terms, with the possibility for official confirmation of the deal in as little as 48 hours. It is unclear what the value of the deal is, but Sky mentions that Rondon has a release clause in his contract worth $20.6 million.

Rondon spent last season on loan at Newcastle with Benitez after West Brom was relegated the season before. He was a superb creative force, scoring 12 goals across all competitions, good for second on the team behind Ayoze Perez. The 29-year-old is an experienced attacker with 78 international caps for Venezuela.


Sheffield United is preparing for its first season in the Premier League since the 2006/07 campaign, and they are looking for reinforcements to bolster their lineup and avoid the straightaway drop they faced last time in the top flight. Having already broken the club transfer record by acquiring Callum Robinson from Preston North End for $10 million, they are now looking to beat that number again.

According to The Guardian, the Blades had a $19 million bid for striker Oli McBurnie rejected by Swansea City. The Championship side is reportedly desperate to keep the 23-year-old after already offloading Daniel James to Manchester United.

McBurnie, a Leeds-born Scottish international, scored a massive 22 goals for the club in 42 Championship appearances last season as the club finished ninth in the table, plus he another two in a pair of FA Cup games. He first arrived at Swansea in the summer of 2015 in a deal with Bradford and was loaned out three separate times before sticking with the first team last season.


Roma technical director Gianluca Petrachi has issued a hands-off warning for Tottenham target Nicolo Zaniolo, saying the defender isn’t for sale.

“I have to work to try to get the best out of Zaniolo,” Petrachi said during a press conference for Leonardo Spinazzola’s unveiling. “I am also a very practical person, I have direct contact with my players. I never put Zaniolo up for sale, nor did I say it was on the market. The market is full of surprises, but today Zaniolo is not on the market.”

The 20-year-old joined from Inter last summer and signed a contract through the summer of 2023. There have been reports that Spurs are circling due to Zaniolo’s unhappiness with Petrachi reportedly breaking off new contract negotiations upon his arrival. There were even rumblings of a swap deal for Spurs defender Toby Alderweireld.

The youngster was a mainstay for Roma last season once he earned a starting place in early November, making 27 Serie A appearances and scoring four goals.

Report: James Rodriguez close to Napoli move

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According to a report by Spanish publication AS, James Rodriguez is nearing a move to Napoli on a permanent transfer from Real Madrid.

The report says that with Colombia now out of the Copa America after falling to Chile in the quarterfinals, the move can progress to completion. AS reports that Rodriguez has agreed to a contract with the Serie A side in a deal worth $7.4 million per year, and now the two clubs will negotiate on a transfer structure.

Despite James not being in Zidane’s squad plans, Real Madrid wants $57 million for his services, according to the AS report. Napoli is instead proposing a loan-to-buy deal to allow them to procure the funds and pay out later. That may not be ideal for Real Madrid who is looking to spend enormous sums of money this summer to overhaul the squad after a disappointing season and could want the income soon to balance the books. Still, it might be the best deal Real Madrid gets for the Colombian, with Napoli offering around $11 million in a loan fee for this season followed by $46 million next summer to seal the permanent transfer.

At Napoli, Rodriguez would link up with Carlo Ancelotti for the third time in his career after playing for the Italian at both Real Madrid and Bayern Munich previously. James returned to Madrid after a two-year loan at Bayern did not result in a permanent purchase, but Madrid was never going to keep him at the Bernabeu.

James played just 20 times in Bundesliga action last season, scoring seven goals while hampered by knee and calf problems. He was a regular for Colombia at the Copa America this summer, failing to find the back but assisting a pair.

Transfer rumor roundup: Neymar for Coutinho plus cash? Dembele to Liverpool?

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The rumors are plenty to finish the work week, so let’s dive right into the buzz around the Premier League summer.

The Rodri-to-City reports have been long-running, but that didn’t stop another team from trying a 23rd hour move for the Atletico Madrid midfielder.

Kicker in Germany reports that Bayern Munich tried to swoop into the picture and snatch the player away from Man City, but that Rodri remains sold on working with Pep Guardiola and the Premier League champions.

Barcelona’s hopes of acquiring Neymar for far less than what some say could be a $300 million transfer fee involves a part-swap deal.

AS says that Barca would offer Paris Saint-Germain $100 million plus Philippe Coutinho in exchange for Neymar’s services.

Given Neymar’s injury history and off-field issues, maybe PSG will jump at that and use the $100 million on one of the many players linked with the club this offseason. From Leicester City’s Wilfred Ndidi to Real’s James Rodriguez, that money would be useful.

And Barca is going to be selling any number of players this offseason, but would you believe they’d admit failure in the case of Ousmane Dembele?

Don Balon reports that Liverpool of all teams is ready to spend nearly $170 million on Dembele, giving them at-worst insurance and at-best a replacement for any moves made by Sadio Mane or Mohamed Salah (who are widely reported as happy at Anfield).

Finally, Sky Sports says Inter Milan’s action on Romelu Lukaku could not happen until June 30 when Financial Fair Play sanctions relax on the Serie A unit.

United apparently wants around $90 million for the Belgian striker, while Inter is hoping to spend a little more than half of that figure.

Inter would also, Sky says, have to sell Mauro Icardi and there’s been little interest in the prolific but controversial striker. Not a huge surprise.

Rodriguez, Buffon leave Bayern Munich, PSG, respectively

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Two stars of past World Cup are looking for a new club to play for this summer.

Bayern Munich made it official on Wednesday, announcing that midfielder James Rodriguez would be leaving the club following a two-year loan deal and be, on paper, heading back to Real Madrid. Also on Wednesday, PSG announced that goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon would be leaving the club after just one season.

[READ: Previewing the USWNT’s World Cup group stage opponents]

In his two years in Germany, Rodriguez leaves with four trophies, 67 appearances and 15 goals and 20 assists. While that constitutes some success, for sure, Rodriguez never became as big of a star as the likes of Robert Lewandowski or Thomas Muller. Rodriguez also battled with multiple injuries, including an injury that ended his league season late in April.

Buffon meanwhile split the season with France National Team goalkeeper Alphonse Areola and at age 41, is now looking for another new destination as he could potentially prolong his career.

So, what’s next for the pair? The latest reports have seen Rodriguez linked with a move to Juventus or Napoli, though the Colombian denied those claims to the Colombian media after a friendly match with Panama ahead of the Copa America, stating he’d rather be in Medellin, his hometown in Colombia. For Buffon, meanwhile, it’s another year where he has to decide if he wants to continue playing or retire.

Both players would be interesting pickups for the Premier League, should any teams be willing to take a flyer on them. Would Manchester United bring James in to play behind Marcus Rashford up top, or if Mesut Ozil does leave Arsenal, could James replace him? Buffon could likely be an upgrade, even at his age, for most Premier League defenses, and perhaps he could have a season like Esteban Cambiasso did at Leicester City before retiring.

 

Bayern Munich confirms James Rodriguez will have request to leave granted

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Bayern Munich CEO Karl-Heinz Rummenigge confirmed on Tuesday that the club will not activate the purchase clause on James Rodriguez’s loan deal, seeing the Colombian playmaker return to his parent club Real Madrid.

Rodriguez had a $47 million purchase clause built into his two-year loan at Bayern, but the club will not take up that option. “In principle, the decision was made because he came to me before the end of the season and asked me not to activate the option [to buy him],” Rummenigge said on Tuesday. “Activating the option now against his will makes no sense.”

His future at Real Madrid is in doubt as well given Eden Hazard‘s likely arrival and Zinedine Zidane’s return to the managerial position. Zidane’s use of Rodriguez in the 2016/17 season marked the lowest minutes and appearances totals of James’s three seasons at the Bernabeu before departing to Bayern.

While James was a useful player for Bayern over the past two seasons when healthy, injury problems made it hard for the club to rely on him consistently. This past campaign, knee and calf problems saw James able to make just 20 Bundesliga appearances. When on the field, he was a force, completing four key passes per 90 minutes played, the highest total in the league according to WhoScored.

According to the English tabloids, James has seen some level of interest from Liverpool, Arsenal, and Manchester United in the Premier League plus PSG also keeping tabs. Italian tabloids have noted that Cristiano Ronaldo has made his thoughts known at Juventus, hoping to bring his former Real Madrid teammate to the 10-time Serie A champs.

Meanwhile, Rodriguez himself is focused solely on the Colombian national team at the moment, posting pictures of himself on Twitter in action with Colombia as the news broke of his departure from Bayern. That fits with his quotes from Monday in Mexican publication Marca Claro, where he made sure to tell fans, “I’m calm, and I just want to think about the Colombia team and later we’ll see.” Colombia plays Peru in a friendly on June 9 before beginning Copa America play against Argentina on June 15.